By Miriam Stoppard, The UK’s most trusted childcare expert

A friend of mine is also pregnant and she told me you can help your baby to develop even before they’re born. Is this true?

Yes, your newborn baby is growing not just physically in your womb, they’re learning all the time. They’re using their developing intellect to remember games you play with them. You and your partner’s voice are imprinted in their brain before they’re born. They’ll remember songs and music you sing and play while you’re carrying them, so bonding with your bump helps your baby’s brain to grow healthily.

Research shows you can not only affect your unborn baby’s health but you can also affect their health in later life by what you eat during pregnancy.

You can even promote healthy eating habits in your child: when you’re pregnant your unborn baby “tastes” every food you eat from the fourteenth week of your pregnancy. So if you want an unfussy eater and a child who loves fruit and vegetables, eat them yourself during pregnancy – and again when you’re breastfeeding, as these flavours appear in your breast milk.

We also know that visualising you and your baby having a smooth, easy, joyful birth will help you achieve just that and recover rapidly after the birth. Rehearsing in your head how it will feel to breastfeed your baby makes for a trouble-free start in the early days.

Trusting your body and your baby gives you confidence in your own power and a feeling of control. This in itself helps avert complications during birth and lessens postnatal depression.

Such is the power of bonding with your bump.

By Miriam Stoppard, The UK’s most trusted childcare expert

About The Author

Childcare Expert

M.D, D.Sc, FRCP, DCL, OBE Doctor, businesswoman and writer, Miriam Stoppard has two sons, two stepsons, two stepdaughters and eleven grandchildren. She obtained the degrees of M.B., B.S., M.D., M.R.C.P., while studying and practising medicine at London, Newcastle and Bristol Universities. In 1998 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London. After seven years practising medicine and specialising in dermatology she entered the pharmaceutical industry eventually holding the posts of Research Director and Managing Director. Later she developed a career in television and to date has published more than eighty books on conception, pregnancy and birth, child care and development, and women's health. She currently writes a daily page for a national newspaper. In addition to two Honorary Doctorates of Science, in 2004 she received an Honorary Doctorate of Law. In November 2008 Miriam received the prestigious Stonewall Journalist of the Year award. In January 2010 Miriam received an OBE in the New Year's Honour List for her services to healthcare and charity. HOBBIES: Family; France; Opera; Skiing

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